628,000 Americans Receive Pay Raise Today

WASHINGTON – More than 628,000 of the lowest paid hard-working Americans will be the first of 12.5 million workers to receive a pay raise this week due to the first increase in the federal minimum wage in nearly a decade, according to an analysis by the Campaign for America’s Future. When fully phased in, this increase will mean a pay hike for nearly one in every 10 workers, according to an analysis of the Current Population Survey by the Economic Policy Institute.

The federal minimum wage, which had been frozen at $5.15 an hour since 1997 and had lost 20 percent of its value, will rise to $5.85 an hour on Tuesday. Minimum wage workers will get an additional 70-cent pay increase each summer for the next 2 years, ending in 2009 at $7.25 an hour.

“This is but a first step,” said Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert Borosage, noting that Americans spent more than they earned last year for the first time since the Great Depression.

“American families are struggling to make ends meet. Health and education costs are exploding, and people are working longer hours just to keep their heads above water,” said Borosage. “We need an economy that rewards work. Raising the minimum wage is an important first step to insuring that workers get a fair share of the profits and productivity that they help to generate.”

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Twenty states have a minimum wage at $5.15 that will increase to $5.85 today due to the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. The remaining 30 states have minimum wages above $5.85 and therefore will not be affected by the first of the three increases in the minimum wage scheduled over the next 2 years.

State Pre- July 24 Minimum Wage Post July 24 Minimum Wage Workers Affected by the $5.85 Increase Total number of workers that will be affected when the minimum wage increase is fully implemented in 2009 at $7.25
United States $5.15 $5.85 628,000 12,454,000
Alabama $5.15 $5.85 43,000 350,000
Georgia $5.15 $5.85 55,000 526,000
Idaho $5.15 $5.85 13,000 106,000
Indiana $5.15 $5.85 34,000 354,000
Kansas $5.15 $5.85 23,000 240,000
Louisiana $5.15 $5.85 33,000 366,000
Mississippi $5.15 $5.85 19,000 202,000
Nebraska $5.15 $5.85 15,000 136,000
New Hampshire $5.15 $5.85 8,000 19,000
North Dakota $5.15 $5.85 6,000 48,000
New Mexico $5.15 $5.85 16,000 *
Oklahoma $5.15 $5.85 30,000 245,000
South Dakota $5.15 $5.85 6,000 65,000
South Carolina $5.15 $5.85 33,000 325,000
Tennessee $5.15 $5.85 49,000 350,000
Texas $5.15 $5.85 173,000 1,771,000
Vermont $5.15 $5.85 3,000 *
West Virginia $5.15 $5.85 14,000 133,000
Virginia $5.15 $5.85 51,000 449,000
Wyoming $5.15 $5.85 4,000 39,000

* Insufficient data to make estimate